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Weekends With Alex Witt

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U.s. 21, Afghanistan 17, Washington 8, Alex 5, Advair 4, Rachel 3, Garth 3, North Dakota 3, Us 3, America 3, Hamid Karzai 2, Brian Williams 2, Peter Alexander 2, Alex Witt 2, Kristen Welker 2, Nissan Sentra 2, Nbc 2, Capella University 2, Faa 2, Taliban 2,
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  MSNBC    Weekends With Alex Witt    News  News/Business. New.  

    January 12, 2013
    4:00 - 5:00am PST  

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considered myself such a traditional person. i didn't even cross the street against the light. but i wasn't going to let anybody walk over morty. that is the story of america. of ordinary citizens, organizing, advocating for change. of hope stronger than hate. of love more powerful than any insult or injury. of americans fighting to build for themselves, a nation in which no one is a second class citizen, in which no one is denied their rights. >> that was president obama speaking at the human rights campaign dinner in 2009. this week, jean manford, the
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founder of parents, friends and families of lesbians and gays passed away, she was 92 years old. and everybody cried, including me, on tv. like usual. out of afghanistan, u.s. troops will leave that country faster than expected. but is it mission accomplished? a new way to avoid the debt ceiling. hear what senate democrats are telling the president to do today. fighting the flu. the illness has now reached epidemic levels in the u.s. is it slowing down? signature moment. how comics are taking on jacob lew's unique, to say the least, scrawl of his name. good morning, everyone. welcome to "weekends with alex witt." what's happening out there. after meeting with the president of afghanistan, president obama sharing new details this morning on how he plans to end the u.s. involvement there. >> this remains a very difficult mission, the work ahead will not be easy. our forces are still in harm's
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way. but make no mistake, our path is clear, and we are moving forward. because after a decade of war, the nation we need to rebuild is our own. >> kristen welker is at the white house. a very good start morning to you. let's talk about the details that the president revealed about the future role of the u.s. in afghanistan. >> good morning to you, alex. the big headline that came out of the joint news conference between president obama and hamid karzai. both leaders agreed to accelerate the transition process, handing over control of an began forces earlier. it will happen in the spring. a little bit more of what president obama had to say of the role of u.s. forces will be, once that transition happens. take a listen. >> starting this spring, our troops will have a different
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mission. training, advising, assisting, afghan forces. it will be an historic moment, and another step toward full afghan sovereignty. >> now, alex, the big question that remains unanswered, what happens after 2014? that is, of course, the official end of combat operations in afghanistan. earlier this week, the white house had signalled that president obama might be open to having zero troops in afghanistan after 2014, after the joint press conference yesterday. president obama said he hasn't worked out specifically how many troops will remain in afghanistan. that's an announcement he will make in coming months. hamid karzai had signalled that he really wanted a more robust american troop presence in afghanistan after 2014. yesterday, karzai wouldn't weigh in on the numbers. critics said if there are no
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forces or reduced force level in afghanistan, that could leave the country vulnerable and potentially to destabilize to the point that it would be involve into civil war. real concerns about how many troops will be in country this is significant, alex. the two countries have had a tel tense relationship. they had a show of unity in the sped up process. >> a show of unity. the new gun control measures facing the white house. the vice president meeting with representatives of the video game industry. will changing rules for video games be part of the strategy here? >> well, the answer is it could be. the vice president's approach has really been to meet with a broad range of groups, folks from the video game industry, the entertainment industry, gun owners, victims, so they are really trying to tackle all of the issues, certainly one of the
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big ones is the cull newture in country that makes violence seem attractive. that's one they are looking at. yesterday, the vice president saying he might be looking into technology to help prevent some of the gun violence incidents from happening in the future, and the number of legislative proposals as well, alex. >> how do you regulate culture? an interesting thing to talk about. krist kristen, thank you so much from the white house. and joining me now, amy parmes and rachel smolken. good morning, girls. >> good morning, alex. >> go ahead to see you. >> the president accelerating withdrawal of u.s. troops. what did we learn from the news conference? when will the u.s. be out? >> the lust play a supporting role going forward, the president talked about training, advising, assisting afghan troops. the president is very eager to turn the page on this war.
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taken the temperature of public opinion. not a very popular war. people are eager to see the troops come home, and the president wants to focus on nation building and that's what we're going to see from him. >> does this suggest that the u.s. will be fully out by 2014? >> white house aides are saying it's unclear, but we might have a very limited presence there. some kind of footprint as wie had in the last ten years. >> okay. i want to talk with you, rachel, about the guns front. the vice president will deliver his recommendations to the president on tuesday. what will they be? anything unexpected? >> vice president joe biden gave a preview that earlier this week. when he was meeting with gun owners, he said early on in the meeting that he would probably be pushing universal background checks for gun purchases and banning certain types of high-capacity magazines. a little preview of that.
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assault weapons ban is also in the mix. vice president told them that he is the vice president and the president has made it clear he will push on that issue. a challenging one politic until washington. >> rachel, the nra says no automatic weapons ban would get through congress is that true? >> it's very, very difficult to see how it would get through congress. bear in mind, it's going to be a fight to raise the debt ceiling and keep the government running in washington at this point. so think about how much harder it's going to be to get an assault weapons ban through. this is an intractable issue in washington over the past few years, and not just an issue that falls along party lines. republicans have not wanted to push on this, and except for a few liberal voices, progressives on the left. democrats not wanted to go anywhere near this issue either. president obama says even if politics are tough, he plans to push forward on the issues on
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this point. >> amie, i want to ask you about the debt ceiling. democrats are saying bypass the house entirely. something about invoking the 14th amendment. how would that work? >> the white house press secretary jay carney said a couple of times that the president would not do that, but you saw senate democrats yesterday, specifically a strong worded letter from harry reid saying you have to do this. we have to figure out a way, can't get caught up in this. that's one option, the other option is the so-called trillion dollar coin, which the white house isn't ruling out. jay carney laughed it off this week, but wouldn't rule it out. and that's interesting. out there. another option. >> and the timeline, rachel, on the fight. how is that playing out? >> three fights colliding in washington now. you will recall the sequester got only pushed back by only two months after the last fiscal chief fig cliff fight. that expires in march.
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the debt ceiling fight, that has to be raised by sometime mid-february, and we have this very consequential fight coming up that nobody seems to know an exact date at this point. awaiting further instruction from treasury secretary tim geithner on his way out. maybe he will give us a date. as we know, washington doesn't do anything without a firm deadline. and even sometimes when we have a firm deadline, we don't see any action. we have the spending bills about to expire that have to be renewed to keep washington running. >> okay. lots to look ahead to, amie and rachel, thank you so much. >> thank you. >> thank you so much. do you think video game violence contributes to violent acts? talk to me on twitter. i'll get to tweets and facebook notices throughout the day. more front page politics, the mayor of newark, new jersey, is explaining how he has evolved to his support of the lgbt
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community. an op-ed has been republished. he describes the process in a new interview, including how he moved beyond so-called tolerance. >> tolerance in and of itself is an admission that this is not love, not an embrace, not a celebration of diversity. i'm really tolerating you. i'm the first mayor in newark's history to raise the pride flag. formed new jersey's first commission on lgbtq issues. >> booker announced in december he would consider running for senate next year. meanwhile, george p. bush is running for a little known but influential office in texas. he tells the associated press, he's close to settling on campaigning for texas land commissioner next year. is he the son of jeb bush. extreme weather across the u.s., unusual cold in the west to intense storm hitting the
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plains and above-average temperatures in the east. dylan dryer here with the forecast. >> we have so many things going on across the country. warm air and rain across the east and through the northern plains, bitter cold temperatures and snow. although the falling snow is becoming less of an issue. winding down in intensity from eastern north dakota, right up across northern minnesota, and southwestern south dakota, that's where the snow is right now, but it's not going to accumulate all that much morrelltive to what we've already seen. we'll pick up another 3 to 6 inches in general in the darker shade of white from north into south dakota, even northern nebraska, and northern minnesota, could end up with another 12 inches of. now at this point, about the blowing snow. wind gusts, 20 to 40 miles per hour. temperatures around zero, and windchills are down near 20 to 25 month zero. all about the cold, and the wind
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with this huge dip in the jet stream out west, but then, of course, the eastern half of the country. a ridge in the jet stream which means really warm temperatures, 20 to 30 degrees above normal. washington, d.c., top out nearly 60 degrees. tomorrow, highs close to 70. record in d.c., 75. shouldn't break a record, but it will be close to it for the end of the weekend. alex. >> and mid-january. go figure. thank you, dylan. fewer half of americans getting a flu shot. are you at risk? a live report, coming up. plus -- >> i was a lot nervous, literally to the point i was shaking. like i was shivering. not that i was speaking to the president, but this is big stuff here. >> peter alexander, a nerve-wracking moment reporting from the white house. we'll talk about it on "weekends with alex witt."
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a new report from the cdc declares the flu is epidemic. 47 american states reporting widespread outbreaks, but hope that the flu season could be peeking. dave gutierrez in an emergency room in brooklyn, new york. let's talk about doctors and how long they expect to see the flu activity. >> alex, good morning. that is a big question right now. doctors in many places aren't sure how long it will last. the cdc expects flu activity to last several more weeks. we're only halfway done with flu
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season. here in brooklyn, they are very busy. doctors saying that about a third of the kids that come to this area or come to this hospital are showing some signs of flulike symptoms, and in other parts, things improving slightly. in the south, we learned that there seems to be an indication that the flu season may have peeked. flu activity is leveling off. many parts of the country, 47 states reporting widespread instances of the flu. so far, 20 confirmed deaths of children, so right now this is still very serious, alex. >> absolutely. let's talk about folks considering getting a flu shot. are they available and how effective are they? do you have statistics on that? >> well, alex, doctors as we say are encouraging people to get the flu. it's never too late, and the cdc says flu vaccines are available. some may need to order more. the statistics and the report
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released this week, this year's vaccine has been reported to be about 62% effective and that means if you take the vaccine, 62% less likely to get the flu. not a guarantee. you could still get the flu. the symptoms more severe. that number, 62%, may sound a little low. doctors say pretty good for a flu vaccine and this year's vaccine is a very good match for this strain, alex. >> also what about the length of time. you get the vaccine and it takes a while before it's effective, right? >> it takes a few weeks even for it to really kick in. but here is a couple of things to keep in mind. not only if you get that vaccine, be careful with some of the things that you do, keep in mind that it can be -- you can be exposed to the flu from six feet away, really easy to pass on, and adults can be contagious about 24 hours before they develop -- before they begin to show symptoms, and for kids,
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it's contagious for longer than a week. really something to pay attention. doctors say you really need to get the flu shot and 47 states have a wide -- the flu activity is widespread in 47 states. >> parents need to keep kids home from school when they are sick. don't put them back out there when they are contagious. new developments about the planned pullout of troops in afghanistan. president obama and president karzai met at the white house and announced an accelerated time line. >> by the end of next year, 2014, the transition will be complete. afghans will have full responsibility for their security and this war will come to a responsible end. >> numbers are not going to make a difference to the situation in afghanistan. it's the relationship that will make a relationship to afghanistan and beyond in the
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region. >> nbc's atia abawi joins us now. she had an exclusive with hamid car sfwli. >> great to be here on the set with up. >> let's talk about the accelerated withdrawal. does this mean things are good in afghanistan? or does it mean we just want to get out? we've had it with an 11-year long war. >> it definitely doesn't mean the situation is good in afghanistan right now. i think it's getting better in the sense of what president karzai and president obama wants. it's not what we wanted when we first went into afghanistan. afghan forces are building up, but not where they need to be at the moment. right now, we have seen quantity over quality and of course, we're seeing unfortunate insider attacks where afghan forces turn their guns on nato and u.s. forces that show afghan forces are not ready.
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not mature enough, not educated enough to fight for their own country, and they don't have the nationalism to fight for their country the way a u.s. soldier fights for america. >> okay. so does this mean that the afghan troops themselves, the forces, those in the military, the government, they are the ones that want the u.s. out? do the citizens want the u.s. troops out? >> it really depends on what afghan you speak to. when you talk to afghans in remote villages and ones who have seen the air strikes, taliban coming into their villages from other provinces, other countries even. they are ready for the fight to be over, but they don't know what will cop after. when you talk to afghans in the cities like kabul, herat, when you talk to those afghans, they have seen the difference in the last decade, seen the internet come to the city, more than 30 television stations after zero after the taliban.
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radio stations, media fashion industry growing in afghanistan. those are the afghans who are afraid of the international community leaving, they believe america won't abandon them, because they have a fear of what will happen after 2014, and that means possibly the taliban coming back, possibly a civil war. >> you get a sense that the goal after 2014 is zero u.s. troops in afghanistan? >> the last several years, when i spoke with military and diplomatic officials, they kept repeating they will never abandon afghanistan again. when you talk on background to some of the ambassadors from different countries, some generals within the system, on background, they say that it is a possibility that they will abandon, no matter what country within the international community, including americans, don't want to be there anymore. >> i was told to wrap it up, but one quick question. if the u.s. pulls out completely, is afghanistan at
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further risk of deinvolving into a civil war? >> absolutely. absolutely. no good answer for afghan's future right now. everyone is hoping for the best, but really expecting the worst. >> thank you so much. appreciate it. the big three money headlines are next critics say it puts 20 years and possibly 20 bounds on kate middleton. one said that the portrait was straight forward and very prur, but an art critic said perfectly adequate for the board room for a supermarket. but entirely inadequate for a national collection. ouch! [ male announcer ] wouldn't it be cool
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wrr. >> now to our three big money headlines. dreams dashed? price of admission, and gone for good. joining me now is a retail and economy analyst. good morning. >> good morning, alex. >> the faa responding to a series of technical setbacks for the dreamliner. what are they looking for? >> the dreamliner was supposed to be boeing's sort of phoenix rising. it really was this plane that was going to be this great thing. rolled out in 2011. in the last week, it's been wrought with problems. it's kept these airplanes, these 787s grounded. the faa will go in and investigate the electronic components because of the fuel efficiency, made with lighter materials, but relies on the electronic components. bowing is opening up their airplanes to be investigated. saying the same thing, that they are completely safe. it remains to be seen what
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reports will say. new survey says a third of the universities out there expect tuition to either decline or grow slower than inflation. should parents start celebrating that? >> analysts say don't open up the champagne just yet. the reason why, because of the economic uncertainty, and in job uncertainty, people -- students especially, less interested in four-year colleges, tuition rise 2.6% to 2.7%, less than the everyone 6.7% it usually goes up. but analysts say because tuition is only going up a very small amount, it might compromise the educational quality, especially state schools. >> that's a problem, for sure. how about the changes to the classic board game monday op believe, -- monopoly. >> we, the people, get to decide that little token. what becomes that new game piece
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if we go on face bok, they are having a contest, and people get to go ahead and vote off in a survivor style way, which token should be on that game piece. they have the scottie dog, thimble. the new piece will be unveiled on the "today" show on february 6th. the robot, the new game piece, in the running. >> that would be a good one. thank you. >> thanks, alex. one minute play back, the jokes about treasury secretary nominee jack lew. >> president obama will nominate his chief of staff, jack lew, to be next treasury secretary. >> his signature on the bottom of the currency. look, something like this. >> that, that is your signature? or are you just testing to see if the pen works?
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that he has been an ob/gyn doctor since 1975. he has delivered many babies. he then said this. >> we tell infertile couples all the time, that are having trouble conceiving because of the woman not ovulating, just relax. drunk a glass of wine. and don't be so tense and uptight, because all of that adrenaline can cause you not to ovulate. >> joining me now is political writer for "the new york times," john harwood. >> good morning, alex. >> it's important to point out that gingrey commented and he said he wasn't trying to defend remarks by akin or richard mour douk and that his position was misconstrued in my attempt to provide context in what i assume they meant. haven't republicans learned
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anything in comments when it comes to rape? >> maybe he is teaching a course for incoming members of congress in whatnot to do. republicans learned to their detriment in the 2012 campaign that you simply don't want to go there, and he's a -- an ogb/gyn. i'm not. i won't argue medical with him, but the idea that he would partially defend what akin is unwise. not probably consequential for him, he's not running, but members of congress in most districts are very politically safe. >> politico points out many or at least some gop types are frustrated with members of their own party, but can't insert rape into the already contentious abortion debate.
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does it scar the whole party? >> the party has taken significant hits, including from those events with akin in mourdock in 2012. yes, it hurts the party. does this event by gingrey make a big deal for the republican party in addition, incrementally from what's already happened? no, probably not. but republican party has taken a lot of knicks over a long time. we have seen in the "wall street journal" poll, when you think of people think about the republican party. underwater, more unfavorable than favorable for six years in a row. they have a lot of digging out to do. >> i think they need to listen to kevin madden, senior adviser to mitt romney. >> this is very simple. if you talk about rape as anything other than a brutal and horrible crime, stop. enough said. >> exactly.
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>> michele bachmann, introduced her first bill. tweeting last week on the bill is to "repeal obama care in its xwir entirety." is the last election resonating at all with congressman bachmann? >> this is congresswoman bachmann advancing her views in a way that will go absolutely no where. zero prospect that will happen. but, again, when you have people in districts who are reflecting the most extreme elements in their own party, because primaries are where they face the greatest potential risk, this is what you get. and, you know, michele bachmann made her name as somebody on the right wing of the republican party who was especially aggressive and in your face to democrats and to president obama in particular, she certainly wants to maintain that reputation, and she is not going to get anywhere legislatively with this, but this doesn't -- given who she, what her identity
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is, probably doesn't hurt her that much politically. >> overall, john, is this a sign that we're off to a certain kind of start? did the 113th congress be as unproductive as 112th was? >> well, we've never left a position, alex, of permanent warfare between two parties that are ideologically distinct, far apart on the spectrum and locked in on those views. the question will be, are there some areas where the president can make common cause with republicans and advance some parts of his agenda. imfrags reform. his political interest with political imperatives need to get right if they want to win presidential elections in the future. on guns. there are some areas in the gun debate where you might be able to make some headway on the background check issue, possibly on high-capacity magazine clips.
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congressman gingrey, who we just talked about, said he could be open to some sort of legislation on high-capacity magazine clips. that's a potential area of compromise. there will not be many, and we'll face a brutal fight over spending and the debt limit unless the president finds some way to use executive authority and get around it. >> i think you are right as always. good to see you. >> you too. >> peter alexander, the network's newest white house correspondent in this week's "office politics." i talked about the pressure with the best in the business watching you and the west wing staffers. but we started with a behind-the-scenes look at the nbc white house press office, such as it is. it's so crowded in here. you know, people think about working at the white house as being one of the most glamorous, ultimate jobs, which it is, but maybe the glamorous part you can correct. >> this is what people would be
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most surprised perhaps disappointed to see, not like we have some giant wing in our own. it's a nook in the corner. nobody is complaining, chuck todd, kristen welker, a producer, and myself. side by side by side. not to mention, abc, cbs, fox, all slammed in the back corner. and sometimes you can hear the other networks screaming out due to a deadline sometimes. usually an obscenity. all of the correspondents, side by side by side, speaking at the same time, the 2:00 warning before the president comes out. are you standing side sbid, the entire press corps is staring at you, the president is about to walk through that door, and are you all trying to communicate literally three feet away from each other, when are you blasting your broadcast out. >> you hear them.
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you hear all of the voices in your head as well. >> it is terrible. having reported in some awful places this is the hardest thing i have done, because you know behind that door the president and his staff are listening to what you are saying, shushl watching you, because they've asked me about things i've said shortly thereafter, and he walks in the door and it is just -- it is the biggest challenge in what we do, keep your head about you when you are doing that. >> that is a lot worse than having nick yell at me in my ear. >> i know what nick sounds like. >> not good. >> during the fiscal cliff hanger as it were, i'm here, i'm the guy, doing nightly news and special reports with brian williams, hear the music, the chime, stand up, talk to brian, president walks in, sit down, and six feet away from the president of the united states. >> okay, does anything go through your mind like i cannot screw this up, i'm a little nervous, have to say that
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exactly right. >> i was not a little. a lot nervous to the point i was shaking a little bit, like shivering. not that i was speaking to the president, but this is big stuff you are dealing with here. so this is my cheat sheet as it were. okay? this is what white house correspondents have done for years. >> helps block out. >> one earpiece, double fisting, double ear-ing as it were. that way you only hear brian williams and your producer, don't hear these guys. i have not had it, just arrived it. if it sounds better, have you this to credit. >> talk about your wife. a newlywed you are. just married less than a year ago. technically a newly wed. >> can i show you a puicture? that's my wife allison, we parallel parked our wedding
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during two of the primaries. this is a picture on the back of us with the obamas. the first time i had ever met the president. and she said, hey, mr. president, this is my husband, he is the new white house correspondent for nbc. i said, babe, it's okay. and we wrote just met the neighbors. conversation today at 12:00 noon. and peter shares some of the practical behind the scenes of working a grind like that which you may not have thought about. the campaign reaction to mitt romney's stunning loss on election night. straight ahead, the debt ceiling debate. what is the chance president obama will bypass congress and raise it himself? you're watching "weekends with alex witt." from psoriatic arthritis hit, even the smallest things became difficult. i finally understood what serious joint pain is like. i talked to my rheumatologist and he prescribed enbrel. enbrel can help relieve pain, stiffness, and stop joint damage. enbrel may lower your ability to fight infections.
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serious, sometimes fatal events including infections, tuberculosis, lymphoma, other cancers, nervous system and blood disorders, and allergic reactions have occurred. before starting enbrel, your doctor should test you for tuberculosis and discuss whether you've been to a region where certain fungal infections are common. you should not start enbrel if you have an infection like the flu. tell your doctor if you're prone to infections, have cuts or sores, have had hepatitis b, have been treated for heart failure, or if you have symptoms such as persistent fever, bruising, bleeding, or paleness. [ phil ] get back to the things that matter most. ask your rheumatologist if enbrel is right for you. [ doctor ] enbrel, the number one biologic medicine prescribed by rheumatologists.
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now? >> alex, there aren't that many cities, other than grand forks, north dakota, that are used to extreme weather like this. this is putting the toughest people to the test. it started yesterday. freezing rain, first of all, left a thick coat of ice behind. and then 8 inches of snow, and then on top of that wind. gusts of up to 30 miles an hour. really people are having a tough time traveling and tough being out in the conditions. brutally cold. we're seeing windchill temperatures now under 30 degrees below zero. so you can imagine what it feels like this morning. pretty tough to be out here. >> okay. you know with that, i had say job well done, get back inside, my friend. janel klein, thank you very much. top senate democrats have sent a letter to the president urging him to bye pass congress and raise the debt ceiling if an agreement is not reached. my next guest reports that the u.s. could default on debt two
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weeks sooner than expected. joining me to talk about it, zachary from "the washington post". >> good morning. >> let's start with the letter from the senate democrats. what is the likelihood of the president bye passing congress? >> the president has ruled out one option, some of them seemingly wacky, but definitely possible, including minting a platinum coin, issuing ious and various other ideas people are coming up with. so farc the white house hasn't explicitly ruled out the other ideas, but not giving a hint they are considering them. i think it's unlikely they will give any hint at all before we hit the debt ceiling, that they would consider any other option. >> for republicans' part, they say they won't raise the debt ceiling without spending cuts. can the president just go around them? >> the leverage disappears if
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the president goes around them. the president isn't saying he's willing to do that and says the debt ceiling must be raised and that's because the debt ceiling represents spending that is already appropriated by congress. republicans say they want to trade it dollar for dollar, every spending cut has to be measured by the increase in the debt ceiling, but there is already some weakening republican ranks about whether they will go through. forcing a dae fault on the debt would be catastrophic to the country. it's very hard to hold that up as a hostage. >> we look at march 1st as a drop dead deadline. but you write that the government will be unable to pay its bills sometime between february 15th and march 1st. what does changing the timetable do to things? >> we don't know an exact date. that date from the bipartisan policy center, basically measuring the cash flow to the government. we're in an uncertain season, where we had the big fight over the fiscal cliff and tax revenue
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coming in, and there are tax refunds sent out, it creates a balance of how much money the treasury can keep going and the government coffers and not precisely clear when that will basically run out we hit the debt limit on december 31st and the treasury using special measures to get it through until march 1st. it could come a week or two before that. it won't be clear for a few more days or weeks. >> we talked about global ramifications. if the u.s. defaults. explain that. >> right. so the ramifications are at least two fold. first, the u.s. treasury bond is the gold standard. the security, the asset, the investment on which the entire global economy runs. anyone can buy it, sell it, put their money there safely knowing they will be paid back. if the u.s. government isn't in a position to fulfill its promise to pay that back, it all
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crumbles. second, the government doesn't have enough money to pay bills, social security checks may not . people in the arms services may not be paid. government contractors may not be paid. the government will be in a very difficult position of deciding who will be paid. and that is the kind of uncertainty that will be a huge blow to a fragile economy. >> yeah. none of that good. thank you so much. in light of the fiscal fighting on capitol hill, the american people are turning thumbs down on congress like never before. in a new poll, public approval has fallen 14% which is a four-point drop, the lowest level since september. the average approval of all of 2012 is 15%. what are you doing? nothing. are you stealing our daughter's school supplies and taking them to work? no, i was just looking for my stapler and my... this thing. i save money by using fedex ground and buy my own supplies. that's a great idea. i'm going to go...
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the white house rejected an
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official petition for the u.s. to build a planet destroying space station. star wars fans signed a petition on the website garnering an official response. the head of the white house budget office of science and space brank says the administration shares your desire for job creation and a strong national defense but a death star isn't on the horizon. the administration doesn't support blowing up planets. all right, the u.s. supreme court is back in session. the justices are expected to announce several landmark decisions before the end of the term including the rulings on same-sex marriage and affirmative action. joining me now is patricia miller who heads the supreme court in cases. there are all highly political cases and they will define what is legal equality in this country. is this a water shed year for
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our legal system? >> absolutely. last year was a wear the shed year about constitutional questions on the political power in this country. but this year is really very much about civil rights, liberty, equality and the march of history and the role of the roberts court in that process. >> there's a lot of talk about which justices will be next to retire, what it might mean for the makeup of the court. who will be first? >> i think it's going to be rouge bader ginsburg. she's 79 years old. she's the oldest of the justices. she's been serving since the clinton administration. and so if you want to call it that, she is the most likely one to retire during the president obama's second presidency. >> i'm sure you're familiar with the op-ed in "the new republic." in it they argued that justice ginsburg and breyer should preemptively retire so that
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obama is replace them with like minded liberals. what do you think about that process? >> well, that will be very unfortunate. if you look at how politicalization is working for the rest of government with congress getting, as you said, 14% approval rating and profoundly unproductive in the last session, that's not what the american people or the justices want from the court. that's not how they understand its role as you noted it's got a really important role in protecting and vindicating civil rights in this country. i think that's what people want to see it doing. >> when posed this question whether this is politicizing the court, they say no it is a plea for realism which is difficult for people to muster in the face of the eye doll trithat talks about the justices and their role in an american democracy. is there anything to that? >> well, i think it's quite -- much more complicated situation when you look at what the
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supreme court does and it has. we only discussed a few cases. it decides 75 cases every year. and nearly half of those are decided unanimously by the court. so it really requires a much more comprehensive understanding of how the court and the justices do their job. >> all right. we'll have you back again with a little more time. patricia millet, good to talk with you. i have low testosterone. there, i said it.
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